Verse of the week: “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men… It is the Lord Christ you are serving.” Colossians 3:23-24
Application for your week: Sometimes the jobs we have in life can really consume us. I get caught up in the day to day stuff and before I know it I am not just caught up in it I’m suddenly buried under it. I don’t know what that looks like for you, but for me it means the kids have gotten the best of me, my husband is stressed and working late, school isn’t going well, the house is a disaster and literally I’m buried under loads of dirty, filthy laundry and it just stinks. I find myself deep in the pit, whatever fruits of the Spirit I had have gone rotten and my sour attitude proves it all. When I get like this the overwhelming, oversensitive feelings of my flesh scream out… “I don’t have to live like this!” and Satan chimes in… “You can’t handle this, why don’t you just quit?” That’s when I have a choice to make. Do I listen to the lies or search for the truth? I mean it is true, I don’t have to live like that and I can’t handle it all, but I do surrender, do I just quit?
The answer is no, there is no quitting, but it is time for some new perspective. A moment to think and consider who it is I’m working for anyway. My flesh wants to nurture itself; it encourages me to be selfish. Satan wants me to work for him; he encourages me to crumble in my weakness, to surrender in defeat. Jesus wants me to “follow him”, to deny myself, take up my cross and just follow him wherever I am going and whatever I am doing. Who am I working for? A deeper question… who do I love? If I love Jesus with all my heart, all my soul and all my strength then the answer of who I am working for is clear in the way I go about doing whatever work I have.
What does that look like? Paul endured persecution, prison, trials beyond anything I’ve ever experienced, yet he worked at it with all of his heart, serving the Lord. His focus was on the Kingdom. Paul was in chains for Christ (Phil. 1:13) yet because it was for Christ He rejoiced (Phil. 1:18). It really is a focus problem. The object of our focus reveals the truth about who we really love and who we really are working for. The truth is “if” we were working as if working for the Lord then there would be no frustration, just joy… we would also rejoice. Just like Paul, our tough days would be a sacrifice well worth any pain and turmoil they had to offer. Working for Jesus is freedom from any job that threatens to consume us. It’s a higher purpose; it’s His purpose… about Him and not us. When we’re focused on our discomfort and our displeasure the focus is on us. When we look at the tough days and trials with Jesus in mind they don’t really look that bad and He motivates us to push on and respond appropriately.
Lysa Terkeurst says “We may not be able to control our circumstances, but we can control our responses.” That’s so true and that is where the fruit of the Spirit comes in and we can’t produce the fruit of the Spirit unless whatever we’re doing we’re working at it with all our heart, as working for the Lord. Our circumstance can consume us and create within us habits that prove only that we love ourselves more than we love God. We need to instead put off our selves and allow the Spirit to create within us a pattern for holiness, undeniable proof that we love God and that it is the Lord we are working for.
Challenge for your week: Let’s ask ourselves the question… “Who am I really working for?” Let’s find and accept a fresh perspective and get the focus off of us and on the Lord. Let’s separate our feelings from the facts. Sometimes work is hard, sometimes life wears us down, but the truth is we have a Savior who gave His life for us and who is preparing a place for us. This world isn’t where it’s at. Though it’s temporary our time here is serious and not only does how we handle it matter greatly to the Kingdom, it is a direct reflection of our hearts and our love for Jesus.
A deeper look in your week: Paul said, for him... "to live is Christ and to die is gain" Do you feel that way? What changes can you make this week that would reflect that you do feel the same way Paul did? Read 2 Corinthians 11:16 – 12:10 Consider your weaknesses a gift, something to boast about as Paul does. Remember that God’s grace is indeed sufficient for you and that His power is made perfect because of those weaknesses. Whatever your difficult days look like at home or at work remember when you are weak, then you are strong!